I wonder what ?

There are many things that I struggle with dealing with the loss of my children, in particular Millie. With the baby that we miscarried, I don’t seem to have the same struggles, I have different struggles, like never knowing what they would even look like when they were born or seeing what colour eyes they would have.

I think maybe this is because we didn’t know whether the baby was a boy or girl. We gave the baby a unisex name because of this and it still breaks my heart when I think of our loss with this baby. Don’t get me wrong, I know that all types of baby/pregnancy loss are horrendous because you start to plan your baby’s future as soon as you see that positive line but for me with Millie it’s different because she had been with us here for 9 months and one of the biggest struggles that I have is not seeing her grow up.

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Now I know that seems a really obvious thing to say but it’s the little things that many people take for granted when you have children.

Would she like having plaits in her hair?

What would her voice sound like?

How tall would she be?

Would she like wearing dresses or be a total Tomboy living in jeans and getting covered on dirt like I was?

Would she have her daddy’s smile or would she sleep the same way he does?

Would she like going to the football with him at the weekends?

This seems to hit me the most when it’s around her birthday and not long after her birthday this year, my mum passed me some photos.

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Many of them made me laugh, photos of her on her wedding day, of my Auntie (yes, you Auntie Linz 😀) as a very young girl but then I came across some of me when I was small. What was odd though, is that these random photos that my mum had brought over were of me when I was 6, the same age that Millie would have been this year.

My mum hadn’t even looked on the back of the photos and seen the age, she’d just picked a few up to show me …

Strange isn’t it that this is the one I saw?

Do your children look like you or have the same mannerisms? I would love to know what you have in common, it’s such a beautiful thing that our children look like us and often act like us.

If like us, you have angels, what is it that you imagine them to be like?

x

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Hi, My name is

Hello.

My name is Joanne.

And I have mental health problems.

Seems easy that doesn’t it?

It’s not. It’s hard. It’s really hard.

It’s one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to admit to myself.

That I had problems and I needed help.

That I needed help more than I could ever have imagined.

The trigger of my illness? My daughter suddenly passing so unexpectedly. Things I saw on that day. Things I didn’t want to see. Things I didn’t want to hear. Things that I had no control over. Things that I couldn’t stop. Things I couldn’t change.

Of course I was grieving for my daughter but I thought I was normal. I thought everyone grieved like I was.

Turns out that I wasn’t though.

I was one of the lucky ones. If you can call me that. I didn’t feel lucky after losing our daughter. Although I was lucky. Lucky to get quick access to an amazing NHS psychologist – because if I hadn’t have done, I know that I wouldn’t be here today.

That might sound dramatic. It’s not though, it’s the truth.

My darling husband realised that I wasn’t functioning as I should be. That I wasn’t grieving like he was. That I was different. That something was wrong.

I didn’t want to believe it. I’m glad he made me go to the doctors though. It saved me.

I was diagnosed with

Severe Anxiety

Severe Depression

Severe PTSD

Panic attacks

Complex Grief

So, as you can see. It turns out that I wasn’t just grieving.

It’s roughly 4 years down the line now since my first psychologist session, when I didn’t really say much,I just sat and cried and then got angry. It’s a little different nowadays I talk more, I pour my heart out sometimes. I was there just last week. It’s not an easy fix to deal with mental health problems.

It’s hard work.

Its emotional.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s torturous.

But as the old saying goes, “it’s good to talk”. It truly is.

Some days I can’t function. I feel like I’m failure as a wife, as a Mum, as friend … as everything.

These illnesses nearly cost us our marriage, nearly cost us the chance of having more children. I could’ve ran away. I wanted Dan to be with someone who could make him happy. Not to be with someone who cried herself to sleep most nights, that woke up and didn’t want to speak to him, that didn’t want to socialise. I wanted to leave so he could be happy. But he loves me more than I could ever have imagined and he stood by me and he’s my rock.

Social media is full of all these fabulous photographs that are photoshopped, edited, filtered – often we only see what people want us to see. They want you to see that their life is perfect and oh so happy.

So here is an unfiltered, unedited, unattractive photograph of what I looked like after a very recent anxiety attack and this is after nearly 5 years of having them. I took this 3 weeks go, not knowing if or when I was going to show it – but today seems right to do so, on World Mental Health Day. There was a trigger for this attack, I’ll talk about it in another blog when I’m ready …

After this attack, I was burnt out for a couple of days. It’s not like this just for a few minutes, the after effects always last a few days and it takes a while to piece me back together – but Dan and Leo always do this for me and help me through it.

So now you’ve read this, I’ve said this before.

Time to text that friend who you might not have heard from in a while, that might have been distant, that might have seemed rude last time that you spoke to them.

They could need that text more than you could imagine tonight. Offer them a brew. It might take them 3 months to take you up on the offer, but they will, when they’re ready. Let them know you’ll wait.

Mental Health does scare people, that’s not a surprise at all.

But the person it scares the most, is the person who is suffering and they might not even know it.

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Finally … I went to Tesco …..

Today I did something that I thought was impossible …
I went to TESCO Handforth Dean … Some of you may not understand why this is a a landmark day for me doing this …many of you will understand … 27 months I have avoided this place and I knew I would get there … Eventually and on the right day for me. Today was that day
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ll be spending 2 hours doing my weekly shop anytime soon … But I was in there for about 15 minutes and guess what, I didn’t spontaneously combust, grow horns on my head or fall into a heap on the floor… I was jittery, I was sweating, i had to stop myself from crying … I will apologise now to anyone that I may have seen in there that wanted to speak to me as I was in auto mode , wanting to get what I needed and get out of there … Gripping the pram ( yes I took Leo with me ) probably tighter than I should’ve been and picked up what I needed , sun cream and a hat for Leo, a magazine for me and a couple of other bits – I did contemplate rewarding myself with a Krispy Kreme … But in my head it would’ve taken too long to pick one and put it in a packet – so I chickened out of that
So there it is 27 months from one of the biggest panic attacks I had after losing Millie, many many many sessions and amazing help from my Psychologist, lots of mindfulness , thousands of tears, tons of anger at myself for feeling an absolute idiot for not being able to step foot in my local superstore or even drive past at one stage … I did it … One of my biggest fears …

I must admit, I came out and got in my car and absolutely cried my eyes out, a mixture of grief and relief I think and all I wanted to do was come home.

There you have it. Mental health problems don’t have to keep your down or hold your back, work hard , focus on the now and it will get better x

To do what seems the impossible is always possible , at the right time x

Joanne xxx